I’m an old school purist. Well, not that old school, but I do prefer the pro wrestling product of the 80’s when the business protected the magic that made it so engaging. The first Wrestlemania took place in 1985, yet that was 29 years ago and kayfabe has been dead for well over a decade and a half. So in this new era of “sports entertainment”, an elder statesman such as myself is curious to know whether or not the business has gained in popularity or regressed in interest ever since the curtain was pulled and the almighty Oz was exposed.
In 2007, John Cena dominated the WWE, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle were tearing down houses for TNA and Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers named Hornswoggle the Rookie of The Year. It was definitely a mixed bag as far as the overall quality of wrestling went.
Yet there still more big names on the wrestling scene five years ago. Shawn Michaels, Batista, and Edge were still active. Now HBK and the Rated R Superstar have called it a career, while Batista walked away from the business in disgust to pursue Hollywood and MMA.
TNA on the other hand has been suffering since the addition of legendary icon Hulk Hogan to the roster. While the company continues to employ some of the brightest stars on the indy circuit, they have been over shadowed by former WWE castaways and returning old timers who have blocked the spotlight of success on their nationally televised program. During TNA’s inception, the foundation of the company was built with a focus on the stars of tomorrow, yet in 2012 they have been hindered by the stars of yesterday…and yesterday was at least 10 years ago as it follows the fatal footsteps of the plagued WCW.
However, 2007 was also the year that the wrestling world was rocked with by the Chris Benoit murder/suicide that put the industry on a high-profile watch and forced it to endure media scrutiny eventually leading to a lesser PG rated product.
Now in 2012, both the WWE and TNA have been able to finally develop some new stars which many believe have created a sense of excitement for both companies. The Rock and CM Punk have generated considerable buzz, and created potential dream match scenarios that didn’t exist five years ago. In a recent PWI poll, 65% of wrestling fans who were asked this very question voted that the overall product and industry is better than it was in 2007. I still have trouble swallowing that pill, yet I haven’t cast my official vote. What is yours?
The Wrestling Jackal has been writing about and covering the pro wrestling industry for over two decades, and has a small hobby site where he shares classic wrestling videos that takes him back to a time when the industry was at its finest. Feel free to give it a visit and relive some of your favorite pro wrestling memories.